“Terrorism as justification for military aggression”
US Embassy bombings in East Africa (1998)
by George Pumphrey
Bin Laden was catapulted into the limelight in the aftermath of the bombs exploding Aug. 7, 1998 at US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya resulting in hundreds killed and more than 5,000 wounded, (an extremely small percentage of whom were US citizens.)
The US ambassador [symbol of US presence abroad] in Kenya was not on the premises at the time, and the ambassador to Tanzania had been absent for months.(“An Ordinary Day, Then Horror” Washington Post, Aug. 10, 1998) The building in Dar Es Salaam had once been an Israeli compound (diplomatic relations had been suspended after the 1973 war). The truck carrying the bomb had been the Embassy’s water truck used to deliver fresh water to embassy staff around town, and had been actually parked on the Embassy compound.(“149 Confirmed Dead in Embassy Blasts” Washington Post Aug. 9, 1998) Neither the surveillance cameras in Dar Es Salaam nor in Nairobi were set to film. Who planted the bomb in the truck? Who shut down the cameras? Bin Laden? Hardly.
The Israeli secret service had assured the U.S. several weeks earlier that the bomb threat received by the Embassy had come from an unreliable source, so there had been no follow-up precautions taken. The first soldiers on the scene were special units of the Israeli armed forces and high level agents of the Mossad, Israel’s “intelligence” agency.(Schoenman, Ralph, “Resist US Aggression! Who are the Real Terrorists?” http://www.igc.org/workers/to/terror.htm ) This is confirmed by Magen David Adom, something similar to what would be the Israeli version of the Red Cross: “Magen David Adom Sen[t] Emergency Aid to Nairobi MDA Paramedics, members of the Israeli Defense Force Rescue team were involved in searching for survivors in the rubble of the building which was demolished by the terrorist bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi.” http://www.magendavidadom.org/newsflash3.html#Nairobi
An American team of forensic specialists from Virginia was turned away by them (ABC News, Aug. 12, 1998). And the FBI arrived only two days later, on Sunday. (FBI Inundate Bomb Sites, Wash. Post Aug. 12, 1998).
The Pentagon was quick to declare that it would take months of sifting through the debris and of intelligence work to determine the authorship of the bombings. Two Muslim groups, whose existence was previously unknown immediately took credit for the bombing. The story was then dropped in the media almost as quickly.
Within two weeks, U.S. leaders launched a combined assault upon Afghanistan and Sudan.(Schoenman op.cit.) Claiming that Bin Laden was responsible. Linking Bin Laden to the modern Al-Shifa pharmaceutical complex in Khartoum, Sudan and alleging that this factory was involved in the production of chemical weapons, the US attacked and completely destroyed the factory Aug. 20, 1998 and fired cruise missiles into “training camps” in Afghanistan. But the Washington Post reported that, in fact, the attacks against Afghanistan and the Sudan had nothing to do with the incidents at the embassies. The attacks had been planned the highest level 2 months before the attacks on the embassies.(AFP/AP/JW, “Argumente bröckeln: US-Angriffe in Sudan und Afghanistan lange vor Anschlägen vorbereitet”, Junge Welt Aug. 31, 1998) Another example of terrorism as justification for military aggression?
One British journal cast doubt on the excuse given by Washington. “It has now emerged that the UNSCOM charged with the destruction of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction had investigated the factory and reported that there was no evidence of transfers of material for military use. The British government reiterated these findings and when asked about the transfer of mass destruction technology from Iraq to Sudan, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook stated: ‘I am not aware of these reports. It would be a very difficult transfer to effect.’ In the House of Lords, Baroness Symons stated: ‘We are monitoring the evidence closely, but to date we have no evidence to substantiate these claims. Nor has UNSCOM any evidence of such transfers… further … the defense intelligence staff in the Ministry of Defense have similarly written a critique which does not support (such) findings.'”(Arbuthnot, Felicity, “Air attacks motive coming under fire”, The Universe, Sept. 13, 1998)
In fact “The al-Shifa factory had been working on contracts for Iraq. One contract with the Iraqi government, which had been approved by the UN Sanctions Committee under UN Resolution 986 (the ‘oil for food’ program), was to produce veterinary medicines for Iraq. Iraqi livestock and poultry had been by up to 80% destroyed during the bombing of 1991 and further devastated due to lack of any veterinary treatments, withheld by the sanctions Committee before implementation of SCR 986 in 1996.”(ibid)
The main reason for the destruction of the al-Shifa factory complex was to prevent the shipment of medicine, Shifzole, Albndazole, and Lavamisole to Iraq. All 3 solutions were to combat the epidemic of screwworm fly introduced around Oct. 1997 as a biological warfare agent by the US in its ongoing aggression against Iraq. Al-Shifa was due to export the solutions according to the Sanctions Committee invoice SIAC. 25/1998/986/comm. 1401, dated Jan. 6, 1998 Aug. 21, 1998, the day after the bombing attack. The US was in a hurry to prevent shipment of these medicines. US News gives an indication of just how rushed the US had been to destroy al-Shifa factory: “At the time the missiles were launched, FBI investigators were still debriefing a key witness and had insufficient evidence to lodge criminal charges.”(Duffy, B., Newman, R.J., “The Price of Payback” U.S. News Sept. 7, 1998) Bomb ’em now & look for evidence later has become the standard method of justice.
As can be seen with the destruction of “dual-use” facilities in Iraq under the “weapons inspection program, any facility capable of producing a medicine or an insecticide become classified “chemical” weapons because they are capable of counteracting biological weapons used by the US against that country. Over the course of the past 11 years, the US has also used locusts such pests other than the screwworm fly,
The pretext for these attacks was the claim that a terrorist organization masterminded by Osama Bin Laden had not only bombed the two U.S. embassies but had imminent plans to attack targets in the United States and around the world. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and Congressperson Lee Hamilton orchestrated these claims with the ominous assertion that the United States had launched the first strike in a protracted war and they declared, as cited in The Washington Post (Aug. 21) that Osama Bin Laden “was linked to the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing and to [a] plot to blow up New York City landmarks.”
Echoing the same contention of a protracted war (a 3rd world war?) was the German Zionist, Raphael Seligmann. He wrote:
” The USA seems to be determined to assert its claims to maintaining its global hegemony. It wishes to facilitate the international effectiveness of its and other’s endeavors and to support the survival of western oriented states, Israel included. This brings it in confrontation with expansionist Islam. European democracies, particularly those, such as Germany, with strong Islamic minorities will be necessarily drawn into this conflict. The war will be long and bloody.(…) Surgical air strikes will, in the long run, not be sufficient. Neither will a short “glorious” armed incursion, as in the Golf war. Western nations have to prepare themselves. There is no alternative. European isolationism would amount to a capitulation to fundamentalism.” (“Es wird ein langwieriger, blutiger Krieg werden”, Raphael Seligmann, Die Welt, 27.8.98)
Bill Clinton drew back from initiating a third world war and Monica Lewinsky became known to the world.
Netanyahu’s intransigence, the takeover of Jerusalem, the Mossad’s attempt to assassinate a Palestinian functionary with poisoned gas in Jordan, etc had isolated Israel on the international scene and with its main protector in Washington. The embassy bombings had given the Israeli government the opportunity to play the “western world’s” heroes of the day in the war against “expansionistischen Islam” in this tragic incident while of course coincidentally being in the position to sort out the evidence without interference. (I was aided in my research from my collegue, JD, and her personal correspondence dated Aug. 13, 1998)